“. . . God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.”
1 Peter 5:5-6 (NIV, 1978)
Years after her release from the Ravensbruck concentration camp, Corrie Ten Boom wrote her bestselling book, The Hiding Place, which recounted the efforts of her family to protect Jews from the Nazis as well as her experiences in the camp where she lost her beloved sister, Betsie. Her book was followed by a motion picture of the same name and, for years to come, Corrie was a highly sought after public speaker. She was once asked if she found it difficult to remain humble. Her response was, “When Jesus rode into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday on the back of a donkey, and everyone was waving palm branches and throwing garments onto the road, and singing praises, do you think that for one moment it ever entered the head of that donkey that any of that was for him?” She continued, “If I can be the donkey on which Jesus Christ rides in his glory, I give him all the praise and all the honor.”
The question was a good one. It is not unusual for popularity and public accolades to corrupt even the sincerest heart. It happens in our worship. Fame is a subtle deceiver that has taken its toll on many pastors and congregations who have allowed flattering words to erode the transforming power of the Gospel message or the refreshing intimacy of Spirit-led worship. The intent was never that worship would become “all about us,” but it happens, and the results can be devastating.
The Bible records many instances where mere mortal, human beings became the focus of their own worship. In every case, God’s judgement was necessary to not only correct their behavior, but to remind them of His grace, provision, and willingness to honor those who serve Him in humility. It is in humility where the character of Jesus is most easily recognized. And it is in this same humility where His love is most readily shared with those who need it most. If my worship is to reflect a heart that is wholly devoted to Jesus, then my words as well as my attitude must convey that everything is truly “all about Him!”